Meet the Imp
I have an imp on my shoulder. He’s always there, whispering malevolence into my ear. He’s three inches tall, with olive skin and two tiny horns on his forehead. His hair is bright red hair. His teeth are small and sharp.
He reeks of burning sulphur, which like him, follows me everywhere.
He says he’s here to protect me, that I am someone special. What can such a diminutive creature protect me from? He doesn’t answer my questions, but he enjoys telling me things.
Like whom I should kill.
I don’t listen to him.
The Imp goes to church
My grandma died recently. Naturally I attended her funeral. The service was at her parish church, an impressive old building with ornate decoration and surrounded by crumbling graveyard.
The Imp didn’t like this at all. The moment we entered he uttered a dreadful howl unlike any I’d heard before. Imagine a puppy that has been left alone in the house, now set its paws on fire. It sounded like that, straight into my right ear.
I put up with it for two minutes before I had to leave. Well I was told to leave as apparently I was screaming too.
What Imps eat
This morning I lay in bed, caught up in that wonderful moment between sleep and not quite being awake. I noticed an odd, damp probing sensation in my ear.
It felt strange, but not exactly unpleasant so I lay there for a while.
I guess I thought it was the remnants of a dream, but eventually I realised that I was fully awake and that the peculiar feeling continued. I glanced to my shoulder and the sensation suddenly stopped.
The Imp wore a guilty look on his face; he then slowly licked his tiny lips with an inch long tongue.
I turned 30 yesterday. I had the usual celebrations planned. I rented two movies and bought a crate of beer. The Imp asked me what I really wanted for my birthday.
Well, I thought about it for maybe a nanosecond and told him I’d like to get laid.
“No problem,” said the Imp and out we went.
That was last night. I’ve woken up in a strange bed, I don’t remember what happened, but I am naked and there is a burly arm holding me in a tight embrace. And I’m pretty sure that is a beard scratching my neck.
Like us, imps have nursery rhymes which they learn while growing up. Imagining imps smaller than the one on my shoulder freaks me out a bit. Are baby imps scary to look at? Or are they cute and vulnerable too? Anyway here’s one he says that they learn.
This little imp went to the soul market,
and his little imp stayed in Hell.
This little imp feasted on roasted human,
and this little imp had none.
And this little imp will stay on your shoulder,
‘till Satan no longer reigns in Hell.
I think he might be having me on.
I’m proud of my beard. I’ve had it for many years and it does a wonderful job of covering my face. So much so, that children no longer scream in horror when they see me.
It’s also a fun thing to stroke. It gives me a philosophical look, like I’m pondering the mysteries of the universe.
Anyway, I realised that my beard has become softer recently.
I asked the Imp if he had anything to do with it. He replied that he did. So I asked him what he did to it. He answered that I don’t want to know.
Saved by the Imp
It was a tense moment. The drunk towered over me, bits of kebab spluttering from his lips. In a slurred voice he demanded an apology. I had looked at his woman without prior permission.
In a flash the Imp leapt from my shoulder and onto his. The little creature stuck his head in the brute’s hairy ear hole.
The next thing I knew, the bruiser had vomited everywhere, all down his front and all over me. He then lurched away in a confused daze.
The grinning Imp hopped back onto my shoulder. For once he smelled better than I did.
The Imp Rides a Bunny
Today I discovered one of the Imp’s favourite pastimes – bunny riding. Now rabbits aren’t the smartest of creatures, but they know that an imp running towards them is bad news. So they did their foot tapping thing and retreated into their warrens. The only problem was that an imp can follow them.
I watched as the poor animal was dragged squeaking out the hole by its ears. It tried to escape, but with a joyous cry the Imp leapt onto its back and held on to the rabbit’s ears as it bounced around the field.
His laughter echoed my own.
The Imp and the Cat
My next door neighbour has a cat. Well, they had a cat. No-one has seen it recently. They keep asking me if I’ve seen their precious Tiddles. I never liked Tiddles, he crapped in my garden.
Although it occurred to me that Tiddles was the only creature, besides me, that could see the Imp. I also remembered that they had a fight.
I demanded to know what he had done with the cat. He gazed at me with that innocent expression and claimed that he didn’t know.
He does have some scratches on him though, and they weren’t from me.
Five Star Imp (Special for Ignite)
“She has nice ankles,” the Imp told me as he watched me update my blog.
“Her, the lady in blue, with the stars around her.”
“She’s not really blue.”
“That doesn’t matter to me; I’m not prejudiced, besides I’m yellow, blue goes well with yellow.”
“How do you know she has nice ankles?”
“That’s easy, look at her smile. Anyone with a smile like that must have nice ankles. It’s a law of the universe or something.”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“It’s true though. I wouldn’t lie to you.”
His terrible wink put an end to that conversation.
Imps Have Feelings Too (Special for Patti)
“I feel left out,” The Imp told me as I drove home. I’d enjoyed the gathering, it’s not often I chat with other authors, face to face as it where.
“Don’t ignore me. You talked about evil and didn’t even mention me once.”
I enjoyed a few minutes of silence.
“Where was my hug?”
“What hug?” I asked innocently.
“You know damn well what hug I mean, as you walked out, bold as brass and you hugged that woman.”
“She couldn’t see you.”
“But you do. I have feelings you know.”
The Imp sulked for the rest of the journey.
Change is Coming
I’ve become used to having the Imp around. When I struggle with writer’s block, he’s there with little suggestions. They’re always inappropriate, but they do get me going again.
He’s also fun to have around, although I often forget that other people can’t see him and receive some puzzled expressions from people when I talk to him.
I still don’t know why he’s here though, apart from that cryptic comment that he came to protect me. Protect me from what though? It’s been two months now and I have decided that it’s time for him to reveal what he knows.
“I am here to make your life better,” the Imp told me.
“You said you were here to protect me.”
“Ah, well, that’s where we get to it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well if I wasn’t here then you’d end up somewhere you wouldn’t want to be.”
“Stop being cryptic! “
“I’m here to protect you from yourself.”
“Don’t worry about that, first we need to get you a new job.”
“But I like my job.”
“The pay sucks and so do the hours. I can get you something better. Do you have a suit?”
I felt nervous. I didn’t want this job, what fun is working in a bank? Sure the money was better and I’d work fewer hours. The Imp pointed out that I’d have more time for writing – which sounded good.
A pretty secretary called me into the office. I walked in, shook the man’s hand. His suit fitted him much better than mine did me.
“Hello, please sit down. Why do you want this job?”
The Imp leapt from my shoulder and climbed into the man’s brain through his ear.
I didn’t say a word and I was offered the job.
Chubby Little Buddha
You should have seen him. He sat there cross legged in the sun like a chubby little Buddha. He wore a beatific smile as if he’d never imagined a perverse thought in his life.
And do you know what he said to me?
“I am at one with the universe.”
“You should relax more.”
“How can I with you around?”
“That hurts, I’m here to make your life better. You already have a better job.”
“You should be more grateful.”
“Thank you for my new job.”
“No problem, now assume the position and say with me. Ooooommmmm.”
Dead Man’s Shoes
Okay, I’ll admit that the new job hasn’t turned out so bad. I soon fell into the new routine and having the Imp on hand made the whole experience a lot easier. For starters I didn’t have to do any real work, he’d climb into one of their facial orifices and mess with their brains and then they did my work for me.
‘You can’t get better than that,’ I thought.
The Imp had other ideas, he had ambitions for me. He wants me to become the Manager.
“How do I do that?” I asked.
“Dead man’s shoes,” he replied.
“Dead man’s shoes,” he told me. Unfortunately the Imp refused to do the deed for me. I dithered for days while he whispered what the promotion would mean. More money and my own office, with everyone doing my work for me I’d have even more time to write - great!
How to do it? Here he was full of advice, but it had to look natural. The thought of murder made me queasy. The Imp soothed my fears, said he’d talk me through it; I only had to perform the act.
The question remained, could I do it?
The Best Laid Plans
For a long week I struggled through possible scenarios. It needed to look natural, preferably an accident. I harassed the Imp for suggestions, but he told me that it had to be my plan. I’m not sure why, he wouldn’t explain. He did point out however that my boss smoked and drank a lot.
Now there was an interesting thought.
I wondered know how many smokers die in their sleep while drunk.
I know that he likes to get hammered on a Friday night, too drunk to walk home sometimes.
It’s Friday today. I think I’ll murder my boss tonight.
Booze and Fire
The Imp guided me, he didn’t do anything directly and he still insisted that I do everything myself. We followed my boss as he staggered home from the pub. We then waited until all the lights were out before sneaking into his house.
In his bedroom I spread his clothes near the head of his bed. I locked the windows. I then poured whiskey onto the clothes and dropped a lit cigarette.
The clothes spewed smoke and left as the flames took hold. As I closed the door I inserted a wedge of paper into the hinge to prevent escape.
The Imp’s Day Out (An Odder Quintet Launch Day Special)
“Let’s go somewhere. I’m bored.”
The Imp grinned at my complaint.
“I know just the place.”
I knew I’d regret asking, but I asked anyway.
“Ok, where to?”
“I want to go to the zoo.”
“You want to go to the zoo.”
“I do and repeating what I say back to me is very poor conversation.”
“Why do you want to go to the zoo?”
“I like to watch the monkeys throw poo.”
“Yes, where I come from excrement fills vast lakes that the damned drown in. It’s nice to see it being put to more amusing use.”